Tuesday, April 16, 2019

GZ needs YOU!

I've been a one man band on my brand for far too long. GZ needs people. It needs people of all kinds.  It needs readers, sharers, and people to spread the word that this is something to see. It needs more than a fanbase however. It needs a creative team willing to take it to the best it can be.  A creative team that can be counted on for artwork and graphic design. People interested in designing board games, card games, apps, book covers and graphic novels. People who want to be part of something.

No one likes the risks of failure and it can take a lot to believe in a project this size.  It can be daunting to know that, for a while, no one gets paid (myself included) until things make sales. Yet, anything that has become worth anything today started in a garage just like that. Now we can work online. There is so much that can be done.

Working with me won't be hard, but you do have to get to know the universe you are diving into. Read the books (I will provide) at the very least and tour the artwork.

I know what I have created has great potential. I know it can carry on for a long time after I am gone. If it can only get the support it needs. As I continue to fight MS (Multiple Sclerosis), I am losing my ability to do my artwork anymore but it was never about my drawing ability in the first place. I have never been what I would call a stellar artist. I've had far too many other creators tell me I'm not good enough (not that I listen to them).

I've written 5 books an developed a board game series so far. If you are looking for a potential project to belong to and are willing to share the risks with me, then talk to me. Let's see if we can work together and if your style fits what GZ needs.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Short Fiction: It's a Blitz! (Part 1)


Metallic clanking echoed up and down the street. It took its half of the road out of the middle. New York City traffic stumbled to halt as the big machine rolled into place. The treads bit into the asphalt tearing chunks loose and leaving a trail. Worried exclamations of people sounded all around, and horns blared. Small shops lined either side with patrons filling the sidewalks. Everyone stopped to regard the tank-like vehicle and its smooth shiny surfaces. It had no hatch, or visible weaponry and it didn’t move for several minutes as people gathered.

The police arrived and an officer started knocking on the metal hull.

               “All right, come on out.”

A whirring sound responded to him and panels opened on either side of the vehicle to reveal speakers. From the front and back even larger speakers rotated out from the hull. The speakers started to blast the opening to the song ‘Ballroom Blitz’ as more panels opened on the head of the tank. Large gun barrels protruded from five sides of the upper portion. People were already running at this point. As the song reached “All right fellas, let’s goooo” the guns began firing and the top of the tank rotating. The volume of the music could easily be heard over the blasting of the cannons.
Store fronts exploded into confetti sized debris. Most cars were below the line of fire, but trucks were cut in half. Light poles fell over like fresh mowed grass. People ran, screamed, or threw themselves to the pavement. The guns fired well above their heads, but debris still threatened to kill many.

When you can move at twice the speed of light, sound means nothing. There isn’t any. Electrode could see the paths of heavy caliber bullets lined up in the air. He could see people on the verge of being trampled as they fell under the panicked crowd. He had a choice to make. He could grab bullets or grab people. At his speed, he could collect all the bullets currently airborne and remove them. If he did, he would have to compensate for the speed of the bullets or risk blowing his own hands apart in the process. Where ever he moved them, they would still have their own velocity and direction to deal with. He could cancel that velocity for some, but not all. So, people it was. He had been told to remove the people anyway. After all, he didn’t come alone.

Electrode, with care for his own velocity against human bodies, removed everyone from close proximity to the death machine. He took them to the lower level of a nearby parking garage. There were enough large buildings between the machine and the garage that it wouldn’t be hit at all. While this task seemed to be done instantly, for Electrode it was a painstaking process of care and control. He could never forgive himself if he splattered someone’s mother all over a wall.

As the firing and music continued, Electrode’s partner watched the sidewalks clear of people so he could do his part. He floated in the form of simple air, unaffected by the enhanced bullets flying through him. They called Sandstorm the most powerful elemental in the world. Even with such a title, this would not be so easy. Buildings in close quarters and a sewer system with active gas mains provided complications. He couldn’t just command the street to uproot on the machine without collateral damage and greater threats. As it were, the bullets were about to cleave through close buildings and into the ones beyond.

A loud CRACK sound told Sandstorm that Electrode was in the fight. As the nuclear electric man, Electrode had more than just speed. He struck the vehicle with a powerful strobe of nuclear lightning.
 
               “That didn’t get through the hull! It’s insulated too well!” Electrode shouted.

               “I have an idea.” Sandstorm made his voice boom through the air.

               “Well do it quick. This song and destruction combo is getting annoying.”

               Sandstorm could manifest himself as any combination or elements or weather. He even made himself a giant at times of various combinations. He flew over the top of the tank machine and manifested himself as a giant humanoid of pure iron ore. He landed on the top swivel and grappled the cannons. The barrels twisted under him and a loud screeching noise sounded. Metal within the turning apparatus ground together and snapped as the sides blew out. The music slurred and stopped.
Still in his giant form, Sandstorm gripped the top of the tank and tore it off to see who was driving. He dropped the junked lid in disgust and turned back to a normal sized human being.

               “Fry the inside of that please.” Sandstorm said.

               “Who’s in it?”

               “No one. It’s a robot and I don’t want any surprises.”

               Electrode jumped up on it and melted everything within in a bright flash of power.

               “Who made this? The Raven?” Electrode asked about one of their worst enemies.

               “I don’t know. Raven usually tries to kill us, not everyone else. This isn’t like him.”

               “Professor Zombie?”

               “Again, why? Zombie wants to turn everyone into his hench-people. This doesn’t work for him either.”

               “Terrorism?”

               “That’s a possibility. There’s definitely a psychological approach to this with that song. Whoever did this, wanted to create a presence for themselves.”

               “Showmaster.” Electrode nodded. “This would definitely be like him, but who would be paying him?”

               “That’s the million-dollar question.”

(Yep, that's where this one ends, folks! Who is behind this bizarre attack? Be sure to follow for new stories, articles, and updates.)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Amazing Creators: Jem Zero!

I am pleased to say that this is the very first edition of my Amazing Creators segment that I will have up roughly once or twice a month. Short fictions and updates will be sprinkled in between. For the first interview I bring you the lovely and talented, Jem Zero. Ze is both a writer and artist much like myself. I found it really cool that we have even more than that in common being that we both fight disability to survive and forge forward in life. Jem has an active twitter and website (note the highlights as links). I had a few questions for zir and lets get to them.



1. Tell us about how you became a writer and artist. Age and ideals. Influences. That sort of stuff. I have been writing since I was the tiniest kid; I first learned to use a keyboard around 6. It was in my blood. I was a better writer than I was an artist for a long, long time. My art still isn’t really that good (in my opinion) though I do make a decent living from it. When I was in middle school I was angry at not being better at drawing, so I started lying about having been better in the past, which made no sense. I was really easily embarrassed as a kid, is all I can say.

2. Tell (what you can) about your current success about to be published? What do people get to know. The story is a romance that takes place in Canada and is about religion, growing up, and polyamory. This was actually my first novel after years of failures, aborted attempts, and focusing on a lot of fanfiction because I was too scared of my own ideas. It’s a double success since the first novel I ever finished is getting published.

(The story sounds really interesting. Be sure to watch Jem's twitter feed for updates on release)

3. Since you're an artist, will you be doing the cover? No, the press has their own artists. My style isn’t really what I’d want for the cover, anyway.


4. Galaxy Zento is big on disability and equal rights support. As I understand, you are an activist as well. What can you tell us about that? I’d like to get more involved in disability activism. At the moment, my main involvement is mostly on a local trans health board. I also write about accessibility and LGBTQ+ rights in my articles. I plan on reaching out to the Governor of my state about the ableism in some new healthcare legislation, so we’ll see how that goes. Other than that, I’ve done petitions, crowdfunding, and emails/phone calls to legislators where necessary.

5. Where do you hope to be in 5 years? I really hope to be in a position where my disability isn’t constantly putting roadblocks in front of me. I don’t wish to be “not disabled,” just that I’ll have found workarounds to a lot of the health problems that keep me down. I want to be published, and I want to be able to get advances to work on future books (that’s the dream, right?) and I want my art career to be solid enough that I can financially support myself and my fiancée (who I hope to be married to by then)! I’m getting a certificate in accounting to supplement my creative endeavors, so I’d like to be someplace with that, too.


6. And tell us about you and your family in general. I live with my mum, since I’m currently too sick to run my own life. Also present are my sibling and my fiancée. I try not to give myself shit about living with mum because I know plenty of cultures have much closer family units and children will stay with their parents their whole lives, with caregiver roles shifting as they age. I’d like that. My mum has always been very supportive of me. My sibling is also autistic and queer, so we have a lot in common, even though we argue a ton. They get along really well with my fiancée, which I like to see. I try to encourage them both to create more. I want to see them confident in their own abilities. My mum is a Celtic Monk and hand makes prayer necklaces, and is very crafty in general. I’m not crafty, so I always admire her creativity.

A bit more specific stuff about me: I’m a lesbian and nonbinary, and I use ze/zir pronouns. I have a physical disability and also cognitive/neurological disabilities. I have a lot of pets! I love creepy crawlies and don’t get why people find snakes, spiders, and rats to be scary or gross. My work is very queer-positive, with a lot of focus on body acceptance, sexual empowerment, and deconstructing norms. I make my living doing portraiture, which I find very soothing, but I’d like to get deeper into illustration and get better at other styles. My biggest barrier is finding the right photoshop brushes.

(Jem was kind enough to explain to this old man how ze and zir work. They are essentially used like 'she' and 'her' while be being considered neutral in their application. I found it very interesting as I never knew this. Galaxy Zento is inclusive and respecting of others world and personal views.)

7. What do you think is important for people to realize about a disabled creative like you or anyone? My biggest thing is deadlines and instructions. Many times, I don’t get clear instructions because the editors don’t think about it, or assume someone has more experience or familiarity than they actually do, or because they think it could be inferred. I try never to assume things, because if I assume wrong it’s the end of the world (in my head). Sometimes I need deadline flexibility, or advice, or a really specific explanation of what I need to do, what I could do, and what I should not do. Lack of communication is my biggest problem with editors.

Many don’t seem to understand neurodivergent people’s limitations or needs. A problem I ran into a while back was having a deadline that was too flexible. The client said “by January” and then insisted she meant “before January.” We had a big disagreement about it and she ended up dropping me, which was actually a blessing in disguise because she was seriously underpaying. But it made me realize that having a deadline to aim for is better than having indefinite openness, even if I need some wiggle room.


Excellent interview and I thank Jem for being a part of it. I would like to add it is important to remember that people are people before anything else. That includes skin color, sexuality, size, shape, religion or political view. If we could all remember that people are people first we could transcend so many barriers and be a much happier people. I think Jem is a shining example of this and a fantastic start to Amazing Creators! Thank you so much Jem! We'll see you online!

OH hey, as an added and super note, you should check out Jem's Patreon!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Seeking Amazing Creators

I want to do something for my fellow creators out there. By creators, I mean writers, authors, artists, illustrators, and more. Who knows who or what I will find, but that's the idea. Of course there are some parameters.

I'm looking for the types of creators who fit the vision of Galaxy Zento. So I won't be seeking out things like romance, erotica, historical fiction, nonfiction, memoirs, or westerns. Does anyone even write westerns anymore?

I'll be looking for fantasy and adventure in several venues. It is possible some romantic work may fit there as well as some mystery. I'll also take horror.

In art I'll be seeking the most creative and unique styles I can find. Yes, comic book art will be high on my list, but not my only target.

You do not have to be published to gain my interest in writing about you. You do need to have something I can show off about you. That can be a website and some photos of your smiling face. The more you have, the more I can show about you. Follow that with details about what you do, maybe some snippets of your current work in progress and whammo. Article! All I ask for me to write about you is that you share what I write about you in this blog with all your social media. It can't get easier than that.

I write all about you and you share. Simple and effective.

Articles of this kind will be titled "Amazing Creators" followed by your name (or whoever's name).

And that's it. Want to be considered? Just send me a message on any of my social media or comment on this blog. Give me links to your website, FB page, and twitter if you have any of it. Instagram works too.

Let's do some good for creators!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Blog Fiction: A Wizard's trip to the Bank

Boreas in his more magical garb
Mark strode into the bank with angry confidence. This was the day. This was the day he would get what the world owed him. No one batted an eye at his heavy puffy coat as he made his way to the center of the lobby floor. Patrons and tellers were busy with transactions while the security guard read a newspaper.

"EVERYONE ON THE FLOOR NOW!" Mark shouted as he threw his coat open revealing the explosives he had strapped to himself. In his hand he held the dead man's switch. "IF I LET GOT OF THIS WE ARE ALL DEAD!" He turned to the security guard who now second guessed reaching for his gun.

"Lay down on the floor, badge!" Mark warned him.

Panicked patrons did as he asked, except for one. On calm man stood by a table littered with forms. He appeared distinguished in his three piece suit and trilby hat. His reddish brown mustache twirled upward in undeniable style. As the man regarded a piece of paper with scrutiny, he all but ignored Mark.

"Hey! Are you deaf or stupid? Get on the floor!" Mark shouted.

"I do believe I will decline that invitation." Said the man. "A person doesn't dress like this to rub himself on filthy tile."

"Just who do you think you are? I'm the guy in control here! I'll kill everyone!"

"Please, sir, just listen to him." A woman on the floor said.

"Not to worry, young lady, as they say in the comics, I've got this." He turned his gaze back to Mark and slapped the paper on the table. "As for who I am; I am Boreas the Wizard. You are Mark Boggs and you are going to jail today without blowing up anyone."

"A wizard? Are you kidding me? Are you senile?"

"Hardly." Boreas gestured with a hand and made a few symbolic flexes of his fingers.

"What was that?" Mark asked in exasperation and held out the dead man's switch. "Maybe you'd like to see my hand gestures?"

"Go ahead. You're vest is full of silly putty. Quite harmless. But then, you are also threatening me with a potato."

Mark looked to his hand in astonishment. He was indeed clenching a harmless potato. This was all the security guard needed as a cue to tackle Mark to the floor. People gasped and some sighed in relief.

"Wow. Are you really magic, sir?" A little boy rushed up and asked Boreas.

Boreas knelt down and put a hand on his shoulder. "Yes I am and you are safe now. Say, would you like to see another trick?"

The boy nodded with excitement.

"Then behold! I just turned Mark's socks into peanut butter!"

"HEY!" Mark shouted as he was cuffed and dragged away. "MY FEET!"

Boreas ruffled the little boy's hair and stood up. He took up his deposit slip in hand.

"Now were was I? Oh yes. Back to business."

Friday, March 1, 2019

Fallout 76: Are you tired of PVP jerks? Solution within:

First of all, lets define. Are you a PVP jerk? Just being a PVP (player vs player) player doesn't make you a jerk. Forcing your way of play on others does. You can cite definitions of the wasteland at me all day long. It won't change that fact.

Discussions of PVE players versus PVP players get drawn out into long arguments and debates. From what I've seen people who go around "killing" other players and destroying their camps believe they are a natural force of the wasteland and their game style should thus be respected over all others. They chide at PVE players who don't like being targets to "stop crying and just go away".

And that makes them jerks. Why? Because the simple reality in any multi-faceted gameplay is that you cannot demand others "respect your game style" when you won't respect theirs. It's also a general fact of life.

This brand of PVP player is nothing but an online bully. We need to adapt a new mindset to deal with them. I have personally been quite successful at this. Now I want to help you do the same.

Recently I had quite a few PVP jerks tell me they would kill me if they saw me. So I posted a challenge. I gave my gamer tag, thewildeman2 for Xbox1 and said, "come and get me". All they had to do was find me. Want to know how many showed up to kill me?

ZERO.

They had a whole day and a half to do it. But I don't stop how I handle them there. Here is how I dealt with the last person who tried to grief me.

When nothing worked to get this guy to stop shooting at me doing pitiful amounts of damage because I'm on passive (yes he killed me three times). I undressed my character down to his skivvies and a Farshact mask. I followed him around, running circles around him and doing the tea bag dance and spinning. I was on com challenging him to kill me again because 'I like it'.

He gave up and left. I literally ruined his experience just like he wanted to ruin mine.

That's what you have to do. Basically, become the most annoying person you can be without killing anyone even once. I am fine with saying that I'm really good at it.

OH, you want to blow up my base? Go ahead. I like building so I'll just hit the ol' "repair all" and zippity do dah. I keep plenty of building components on hand so blowing up my base has ZERO effect on me. It means nothing. Therefore, you mean nothing.

OH, you got my junk? Whoopty doo! I can get more and show more skill doing it.

That's the mindset you need to take to beat a griefer. Make their experience as low quality as you can, as irritating as you can, and ask low skill as you can. Show their style of game play equal respect to what they show yours. If enough of us do this, the game will become considerably less fun for them.

In the mean time, if you want to meet someone friendly and see Thewildeman2 out wandering around, you're safe with me. I play the wasteland chef, so be sure to ask if you are low on food. I'm also usually on com so make sure your settings are right if you want to hear me. I may even follow you on a mission or two. OH, but I don't join a lot of teams, so don't be offended if you send and invite and I don't respond. People who want to come and find me, literally have to come and find me.

Thanks for reading and I hope you find this information useful. Lets drive some griefing PVP jerks nuts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Character spotlight: Falconer and Sersi

His real name is Dar Macabon and he lived on the planet Chyssia as leader of the royal guard for many years. Then his team was framed for the murder of the king and they were forced to flee to protect their infant princess. Because Chyssia is where the game of Chess really originated, they were called chessmen without a king and the name stuck. They became the Chessmen, fighting to go back home.

Dar earned the name of Falconer when he rescued an injured red falcon in the mountains. But this was no ordinary bird. Her name is Sersi, a mystical falcon and very rare. Being highly intelligent and capable of speech were only the beginning with her. Sersi is an amateur spell caster and getting stronger every year. For the sake of her team she specializes in healing magics, but her combat prowess is nothing to dismiss. Her power dive comes with a peal of thunder and red lightning. She can fell a thick tree with one pass.

Dar has power over the elements and weather. He can generate storms and manipulate elements in any form. He can make earth churn like water and shape fire into anything  he can think of. He can generate micro winds for shoving people out of they way or full force hurricanes. In a major fight he prefers lightning but is highly practiced in every angle of his abilities.

When it comes to his team, Dar is deeply concerned with their innocence and the effects of being forced away from home. His leadership is firm yet caring and conscientious. Sersi is in love with him but keeps that fact well hidden, hoping to one day change form to a humanoid woman for him. Together they inspire a team loyalty that surpasses most similar hero teams.

Dar's most notable drawback is his personal guilt over what happened to his team and the situation they are in.  He feels he should have seen the whole thing coming and no one, not even Sersi, can convince him otherwise. (Avoiding spoilers, you'll just have to read Chessmen to find out.) Dar also prefers to avoid combat if possible, but he isn't afraid to deal punishment to anyone who earns it.

Falconer and Sersi in combat are a fearsome force to behold. If he doesn't have to worry about his teammates, he and Sersi can clear a battlefield of minor threats in seconds. He can obliterate heavy artillery and possibly even throw it into orbit. Both of them can fly in space with assistance of Sersi's magic and Falconer's ability to carry an aura of sustainable atmosphere with him. He can channel lightning in space, but the lack of other elements restricts his abilities.

Their dedication to the princess is stronger than any known bond and they protect her with their lives. The only thing more powerful is the drive to take her and the team back home.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Diversity in writing done right


You want your work to be accepted by as many people as possible. You decide that you want diversity in your work. Well, my friend, there is a right and wrong way to do that and we're going to give some examples today.

First of all, what does diversity in creative works mean? It means that you have a healthy variation of cultures represented in your work. This includes ethnicity, religion, and yes, sexual orientation. While diversity and being inclusive are important, going too far can get you labeled as an SJW and cloud the story. Let's use some live examples while realizing that opinions will vary.

During Capaldi's run in Doctor Who, there was a companion named Bill. Bill was gay. I feel comfortable saying 'was' because she was turned into a Cyberman and eventually killed. Uh oh, spoiler warning? Too late. There is nothing wrong with Bill being a gay woman or lesbian if preferred.  The problem was that Bill felt the need to announce this fact in practically every other episode to the point of boring it into the viewer's skull. What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, what is Doctor Who about? Is it adventures through time and space or being gay through time and space?

Now let me give you an alternate view. There is another show (okay okay, spoiler warning) called The Rookie. It's a show about becoming a police officer staring Nathan Fillion as the 'main rookie' though he has two cohorts with him. One of them is Officer Jackson West. During the Valentine's day episode he asks a male nurse out on a date. Through the series we saw several times that Jackson referred to problems with his mother over him being a cop. While you could entertain suspicion, it was never a flagrant and in your face issue. When it finally comes to be, it's casual and basically just like it would happen for any straight person. You don't feel like 'gay' is being shoved down your throat. See the difference. Now we will see more of Jackson's relationship, I'm sure, but presenting them as people rather than a label will always be more successful with your audience.

Another well written example is in the show 911. Hen Wilson is a married gay woman with a child. It never needs to be explained because if you can't tell that Hen is gay by the time her wife is introduced, it's on you. Thanks to letting the characters simply be the people they are, no one ever has to make a big character point of waving a flag and going "SEE THIS CHARACTER IS GAY" which is really poor writing to do so.

This goes the same with any form of culture you are including in your story. If you story is all about how to live in that culture, then that's great. Otherwise remember to keep to what your story is about. Let your character show who and what they are rather than waving the flag.

Please keep in mind that I only use being gay as an example here. Thank you.

One of my main characters in my hero works is from Egypt. That alone suggests that he may be Muslim. I leave that for the reader to decide (but he is Muslim). He has the likeness and powers of the god, Anubis but his human half still has feelings, concerns, and culture. It's not easy to mix that in to a story with multiple characters, but I definitely want him to be seen as a person, not a culture.

Thanks for reading and keep writing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

No Trespassing (Blog fiction)


The great fan of the air boat roared in their ears as they sped across the waters of southern Louisiana. They held their guns ready for anything in their path on the way to the meetup. The buyer wanted sufficient tree cover in the swamp for the purchase. Lemmy didn’t like the idea but he had drugs to sell. A buyer’s eccentricity could be tolerated most of the time. The coordinates led to an arrangement of shacks on stilts over the water. No one lived in them. They were entirely for deals like this. They were meant to look like some swamp person’s little hideaway. Something people in those parts left alone on general principle.

“There. There they are. Pull right up to them.” Lemmy said to his pilot. He adjusted his tie and tapped a finger on his machine gun strapped over his shoulder. Two more boats of Lemmy’s boys followed them in.

Booker and his guys were in row boats and pirogues. They came out of a part of the swamps you couldn’t take an airboat through. He preferred using thick trees to cover his exploits and knew he was tough to follow. He smiled revealing gaps from missing teeth and the sun shined on his bald head. Lemmy and his boys were suits and ties. Booker’s were scrap shirts and jeans. Lemmy liked machine guns while Booker’s guys carried rifles and shot guns.

Lemmy gave a friendly salute as his boat came nose to nose with Booker’s.

“You think you could pick and uglier place to meet?” Lemmy joked.

“What? You don’t like the greenery?” Booker gestured in a wide sweep of his arms. “This is home. Don’t talk bad about my home now.”

“Take it easy. I’m just busting your balls. I got your order here. Two waterproof plastic crates of white gold, just like you asked.”

“Excellent. We have your money the same way.”

A loud and low growling sound echoed through the shacks and across the water. All the men did double-takes of their environment to see what did it. They saw nothing.

“What the hell was that?” Lemmy said.

“Probably just the rugaroo. Legends around these parts say there’s a monster. Oooooo. Ha. I don worry bout it none. It’s not real.” Booker laughed.

That’s when a shack exploded off its stilts and flew over their heads with a savage snapping of wood pillars. Lemmy dropped to his knees while two of his men went into the water. Booker fell off his boat with a splash. The beast in the shack’s place stood 14 feet tall and nearly as wide. It had the head of the biggest alligator you could dream of and stegosaurus plates reached up from its back. Gator hated evil in his swamp. The legends were true.

Gator had been watching Booker and his men. He knew these men were up to no good and in his swamp to boot. Ever since evil men used science to make him into a monster, he patrolled his swamp. Not even littering college students escaped his wrath. But he only scared those. These men needed more convincing. Gator was happy to oblige. With a whip of his thick powerful tail, he turned the shack he hid behind into a flying arrangement of kindling.

Men yelled in terror at the sight of him and opened fire in panic. It didn’t matter what kind of guns they had, the bullets were worth less than falling acorns. Gator let out a roar that rippled the water and pushed boats away. Then he charged into their midst. He snatched a rowboat out of the water with one enormous hand, flinging its occupants into the air. He threw that boat at one of the air boats, smashing both to bits. More men were thrown into the drink. Two were severely injured.

Gator didn’t want to kill anyone. He did want to make sure he left a lasting impression on these men to never come here again. Another whip of his tail capsized every one of Booker’s remaining boats with a powerful splash and wave of swamp water. Another stilted shack collapsed into so much driftwood garbage. In moments, only Lemmy remained on his boat and all others were trashed. Booker stood up in the water choking for breath.

Gator grabbed Booker up out of the water and put him on the airboat next to Lemmy. He took up both plastic containers of drugs in one huge hand and showed them to the men. Gator cocked his arm back like a professional baseball pitcher and threw the two containers out toward the Gulf of Mexico. The two shocked men watched as over a million dollars in cocaine flew out of sight into the distance.
Gator turned back to the men and roared in their faces as they screamed like children. Lemmy felt himself defecate.

Gator left them with one word before turning and lumbering away.

“GO.”

Before disappearing into the trees, Gator picked up some wreckage and threw it at the last standing shack, reducing it to splinters.

Now they knew the legends were true. Word still got around. It’s his swamp. No trespassing.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Death is Blind (Blog fiction)

The rhythmic tapping of the cane against the sidewalk told Solomon his path was clear. The footfalls of the bustling New York populace around him kept him informed on every body nearby. He didn't really need the cane but being blind served him well. He allowed others to underestimate him on a daily basis. It made his job easier.

Solomon killed people for money. Today he moved in on a particular target; a businessman. A businessman who refused to do business with Solomon's employers in the Foundation. A great assassin knows everything about his target's living routine. Being blind was no exception. Solomon had already followed the man several times. He knew things about him that no one else would ever pick up on.

For example, this man's gait was slightly off to the right, causing his right shoe to make a distinct scrape against the sidewalk. A scrape only Solomon could hear. The man had breathing issues and a heart murmur. Solomon could hear them all. As if that weren't enough, Solomon could smell him too. He wore a cheap brand of cologne that stood out in the crowd. It mixed with his deodorant in just a certain way. Solomon didn't need to see to identify his target perfectly.

The smells of steam and coffee from a mobile street cart told him he had arrived in front of the insurance building his target worked at. He heard the chatter of a group of women that always arrived at the same time every morning. They stood around the same coffee cart. Solomon had come by every day for a whole week to observe his target and the environment. He knew every detail.

Beyond the women around the coffee cart, he knew all the traffic. Two buses, one of them carrying his mark, would come through opposite directions at the same time. The same loud and angry taxi driver would be right behind them, yelling obscenities out the window at anyone in his way. A CEO barking orders over his cellphone hurried through the crowd past the group of women. They would giggle at him every time. At a far end of the building a man begged for change. Every scent, every sound, and every angle of the passing breeze served as Solomon's map.

He heard the air brakes of the city buses and tensed his hand on the end of his cane. He stood stock still, just a few feet away from the chattering women who enjoyed their coffee and gossip. Through all the foot falls he picked up that one shoe and its unmistakable scrape. There had been a small rock in the sole of that shoe for the last three days. The first sound of it meant his mark was 12 feet away. Solomon touched a small button on the end of his cane. A tiny needle emerged at the other end.

The smell of the cologne meant he was 5 feet away and the sound of the heart murmur meant 3. With only the movement of a wrist and natural looking use of the cane, Solomon flicked out the end making contact with his mark's right ankle.

"Ow!" The man said. "What the heck was that?"

Solomon heard him shake his foot and continue to walk. He retracted the needle to the notice of no one. The smell faded on the breeze and the sound of the heartbeat and breathing faded. The scraping of the shoe stopped abruptly followed by the sound of the body hitting the concrete. As surprised yells and rushing footsteps resulted, Solomon quietly walked away, tapping his cane to find his path as if nothing had happened.

No one thought anything of a platinum blonde blind man in a dark blue business suit. After all, he was blind. What could he do?

(Thank you for reading and hopefully sharing this flash fiction about one of my characters. Check back often for new quick reads about amazing characters. Want even more? Hit the links in the upper right to find my author's page and full books!)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Have you seen Jack Black lately?

Jack Black is living the dream. The man announced his retirement at his Hollywood Star ceremony in September. But don't think that means you won't see him anymore. Jack has taken to Youtube with a couple of channels that show he's really doing just what he loves to do. And above all, he's totally being himself.



His new channel is called Jablinski and he said it's about gaming. But you should know, with Jack, nothing is totally as it seems. His first official video on the subject takes you 'old school' with a 3 minute tour of vintage pinball machines. I would personally have liked to see a longer video and more about the machines than 3 minutes. Still, it was a fun 3 minutes.

I'm not sure how thought out Jablinski is at this point, but I do hope to see more. I found myself able to relate to Jack in several ways. Our beards are very similar and I'm pretty weird myself. I also troll my kids pretty much the same way he does in the video. Jack embraces being a bearded weird very well.

And why not? This is how you 'live the dream'. Be yourself without shame or care and do what you love to do. Don't you wish you could do the same? I'd say Jack has earned this time for himself and should be free to do just as he damn well pleases. So give it a gander and get ready for how refreshing begin so carefree can be. Right on, Jack!